Taylor Kepp was just 20 years old when she discovered she had stage 5 kidney disease.

"It was very shocking," said Taylor. "On September 11, 2019, I went to the doctor, and they found my kidneys were failing. It was a complete surprise because I was feeling good. I was only tired and had headaches."

The discovery was made when Kepp went in for some routine bloodwork. She says even the doctors were surprised.

"The doctor said I was a Christmas gift because they had no idea what was wrong with me, and I didn't look like a sick patient," Taylor explained. 

The new diagnosis meant that Taylor needed a new kidney and would have to be on dialysis until this happened. 

taylor on dialysisTaylor having her blood cleaned on dialysis (Submitted)

Sandra Saint-Cyr, a mother of four and retired school teacher, heard about this situation through Taylor's mother.

"Taylor's mom was in choir with me. We were at choir practice on a Wednesday night, and she had just learned of the diagnosis. She shared what was going on with Taylor as a prayer request for the team," Sandra explained. " God did a thing in my heart at that moment that I'll never forget."

Sandra has a son, who is a little younger than Taylor, that has been dealing with Type 1 diabetes since he was eight years old.

"I know what it's like for a mother to have a child with health issues," said Saint-Cyr. "Right then, I thought, if a mother had a child with a health issue and someone could help, wouldn't they want them to help? I knew right then that I would pursue it, just to find out if I was a match." 

Sure enough, Sandra and Taylor were a match. Sandra approached her family, and everyone was on board with her. 

"I feel like God has given my family a grace I think we don't even realize because sometimes they're like, it's no big deal. No one was worried," said Sandra. "It was a real belief that didn't shake."

The surgery took place on May 26, 2022, and recovery has been smooth for both ladies. 

"I could not wait to get out of the hospital and start living," said Taylor. 

"I just trusted the process and let it happen," said Sandra. "The blessing was on the other side. I'm just feeling like it has been a great experience and a privilege."

The pair are now encouraging others to become living donors. Those interested in learning more can check out the Transplant Manitoba website.

Today on Connections, Sandra and Taylor share how they met and how this gift of life has changed their lives forever.